DEARBORN, Michigan – Dearborn’s 87th Annual Memorial Day Parade, the oldest continuous parade in Michigan, presents a special tribute to those who served and died in the Vietnam War, in this 50th anniversary year of the conflict.
Parade at 10:30 a.m. – Monday, May 30, 2011
The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. and travels Michigan Avenue from Greenfield Road to Schaefer and includes 80 military and community groups, five flyovers, special guests and military vehicles.
The Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council, led by 2011 Commander Craig Tillman, organizes the parade with support from the City of Dearborn.
Funeral procession at 9:30 a.m.
The parade follows a solemn funeral procession beginning at 9:30 a.m. for three veterans who died without resources or family and whose remains have been left in Dearborn funeral homes.
Remembrance Service at noon
After the parade, the traditional Remembrance Service will be at noon at the War Memorial on the grounds of City Hall.
Grand marshal is Adrian Cronauer, the military DJ whose life inspired the main character in the 1989 movie, Good Morning Vietnam! He will give a keynote address at the Remembrance Ceremony.
Free public display of Huey and Vietnam-era vehicles 1-4 p.m.
New this year will be a free, public exhibit outside of Ford World Headquarters from 1-4 p.m. of a Huey helicopter, Vietnam War memorabilia and vehicles and the Michigan Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Wall.
Tribute to 69 Dearborn Vietnam veterans who perished
The parade will also pay tribute to the 69 men from Dearborn who died in Vietnam or in military service during that era. Military and community groups will march in honor of the men and carry posters with their photos and names.
Families of 69 men will be at the parade
The families of many of the Dearborn men who died in Vietnam will march or ride in the parade and will be given a place of honor in the audience. This project has been coordinated by Lisa Lark, a Dearborn teacher, who is compiling the histories of the 69 men.
Special guests of the parade are: Marty Eddy, president of the Prisoner of War Committee of Michigan; Warren K Diegel, Vietnam Veterans of Michigan, State Council president; Nancy Diegel, Vietnam Veterans Associates, State of Michigan president; and Adam Arbogast, spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that founded the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. and is creating a companion Education Center.
Dearborn’s parade will have four flyovers as well as the Huey: A-10 Warthogs, Coastguard Dolphin, T-6 Texans (flying the missing man formation), and a B25.
The parade will include both historic and modern day military vehicles, include a Stryker.
Free veterans picnic 1-6 p.m. Sunday, May 29
The DAWVC will be hosting a “Veterans’ Family Day” at Ford Field Park 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, May 29. The event is open to “all veterans of all eras.”
Local blues singer Curtis Sumter will perform and Grand Marshal Adrian Cronauer is scheduled to appear.
Hot dogs, beer and beverages will be available for purchase. Attendees can also bring their own food and beverages.
The parade and related events are made possible by generous contributors and supporters, including Ford Motor Company and Dearborn Federal Savings Bank.
The appearance of the Michigan Vietnam Remembrance Wall is courtesy of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 73 from Holland, MI.